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Florence man using martial arts to teach hurricane preparedness

Kevin Smith is using his experience to not only teach martial arts but about being prepared (WPDE)

Millions were in the path of Hurricane Harvey, forcing millions to evacuate.

The storm caused major flooding and damage to many homes and businesses.

That's a story one man from Florence knows first hand, he lost everything to Hurricane Katrina.

"I came to Florence with nothing, I mean just the clothes on our back," Kevin Smith said.

Smith had to start over after Katrina, but he continued with martial arts.

"Martial arts teaches how to deal with adversities, adjusting to any environment. You know home is where the heart is, and for me Florence became that new home, that new heart for me," Smith said.

While in Louisiana, Smith had multiple martial art studios where he taught a marital art form he created called Hodari Jua. 12 years later, he's built a studio from the ground up in Florence, Urban Street Self-Defense Studio.

"I'm hoping I can plant enough seeds here as we have done with the young people who are black belts. Now they can continue on what I have taught them," Smith said.

Seeing the path of Hurricane Harvey and the damage it's done, reminded Smith of his own storm & how far he's come.

"It reminds me of the importance of being available to prepare yourself for disasters," Smith said.

He's using that experience to not only teach martial arts, but about to teach about being prepared.

"We have a food co op and in addition to that we also teach about survival and how to put things away because you never know," Smith said.

If you're caught in a storm, Smith has some advice, "You should make sure you have supplies that are gonna last you for the next week or two because they may not be able to get to you or that area in that particularly time you want help".

Smith also says it's important to leave when you're told to evacuate.

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